Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Family Tree Maker Beta

You can test out a beta version of the new Family Tree Maker 2008 by downloading from http://beta.familytreemaker.com. It's a big file and took 25 minutes to download on my broadband connection. Then you have to download Microsoft .NET -- I think that's to get the maps to work.

In a previous posting I suggested three needed improvements, mapping, sources and DNA. Here are some first thoughts after only a few minutes exploring the capabilities.

Mapping is vastly improved over the lame effort in previous versions. It uses Microsoft Virtual Earth. The program will attempt to find the locations in your file, and you can list events that occurred at a given location. The list of locations seemed limited, it couldn't find Tottenham, Middlesex, England, for example.

The recording of sources also seems to be improved, but I need to do more evaluation.

There is still no specific provision for recording DNA information.

Being FTM it seemed to do a good job of importing earlier FTM files, and claims to import Legacy Family Tree and the Master Genealogist files, as well as GEDCOM.

Although this is only a beta, and didn't always perform as smoothly as one would hope, I'm encouraged by what I saw. I'll try and do a further review later. Do post a comment if you try it.

We have until August 24th until the beta stops working. You are warned not to save any new data you want to recover afterwards as the data formats are not backward compatible with earlier FTM versions.

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